Great Tips for Good Networking
You might find yourself at a fab event with free champers, but you might also be at a drab do with a spam canapé for a friend. Either way, if you’ve taken work time out to attend, make the most of it.
Here are some ideas to take the pain out of networking:
- If you are feeling under-confident, don’t worry, everyone feels like that at first. Build confidence by being prepared. Get an outfit together that you feel good in. Pack your bag so you’ve got everything to hand and don’t forget your business cards.
- Do you know which other companies are attending? Google the organisations you want to talk to and find out about their recent projects. You’ve then got a good conversation opener that shows them you’re really interested in working with them.
- If you’re short of time, target the companies you are most attracted to working with first, any others you meet are a bonus.
- Stay relaxed. There’s no reason to get nervous, nip off somewhere quiet for a few minutes if you’re having a wobbly or feeling like you don’t know what to say. Take a deep breath and start again.
- Remember your work is great. You’re just as good as anyone else at the event, so you’ve got the same chance as they have of getting the work. Be enthusiastic and positive about your strengths.
- Think of key phrases to describe what you do and your client projects. If you haven’t got a huge résumé, can you refer to projects you’ve worked on in a job or at college?
- If there’s a free lunch, eat it – put the money you’ve saved on a sandwich back in your business advertising pot. Every little helps when you are starting out.
- Pick up any free literature you see. Otherwise the print you don’t pick-up will be the one you really need when you get home.
- Collect business cards as well as handing them out. Follow up contacts with a polite e-mail. Be careful not to come across as hassling people though. Keep it to a few simple polite paragraphs and include your URL.
- Don’t forget, networking isn’t just about attending events. You can use online networking (like this website), friends, family, old employers and acquaintances to help spread your business word.